While I would very much like to talk about the new update today, this post is dedicated to the first two legendary belts, Immortals’ Justice (IJ) and Ice Stalagmites (IS) – something which my guildies and friends have recommended for a while.
This post will assess and discuss the traits, use and viability of these two, showcasing certain strategies of how they are able to be used and which scenarios are good to use them in. It will also do an overall comparison between the two at the end as to why one of them is so largely preferred over the other.
Before I go straight to the post, I’ll take this opportunity to share a few vital suggestions have been brought to the attention to the devs about the latest update:
- Bring back Energy and Stamina bars to the top bar
- Show Inventory limit when in the Inventory Tab
- Make chat visible on the front screen (for GW and communication purposes)
- Misaligned name above HP bar for champions
If there is anything else, do let me know in the comments below.
Alright, let’s begin.
Type: Belt (Legendary)
Sub-type: AoE (2 pulse)
Cooldown: 20 seconds (w/o bonuses)
Traits: Light Armor Bonus 16.6%; Dodge 17%; Stun 13%
To start off, let’s focus on the most recent legendary belt, the Immortals’ Justice (or IJ in short). IJ appeared shortly after Ice Stalagmites as a second legendary belt, much to the dismay of players who preferred another skill gear type to be released. Nonetheless, it’s offensive prowess make it a worthy adversary in most situations (raiding, Trial of Elements (ToE) and other game modes alike).
Examining its traits, high dodge and light armor bonus are definitely welcome into the mix, promoting light type users to indulge in the use of this belt. Stun, however, is less favored in raiding, particularly in pure-champion configurations of higher leagues. But its high numerical %, coupled with the most recent Sunsearer (legendary light crossbows), makes it worthwhile to be used in other modes like ToE.
TL;DR: Great for Light-aligned, dodge- and stun-oriented sets. Useful for most situations.
IJ has a two-step attack pattern: (A) Impact & (B) Explosion
(A) Impact: The hammer lands down from the sky, damaging and stunning all hostile units within a large radius as indicated by the circular pulse of its impact. This mode deals moderate amounts of light damage.
(B) Explosion: The hammer explodes, releasing thunderbolts that burst outwards in an X-shaped pattern to slightly beyond the end of the circular pulse indicated earlier. This mode deals extremely heavy damage, but has a narrow range of effect based on where the thunderbolts hit.
TL;DR: 2-hit attack pattern, Impact causes Damage and Stun -> Explosion causes high damage.
To use IJ in a viable manner, much practice needs to be done as timing and placement is of utmost necessity.
First, it is best to maximise its offensive capability by gathering as many monsters as possible to one location before activating the skill. This is best done in ToE or in solo missions where plenty of monsters will spawn.
Once this is done, set the hammer on the largest most immobile monster within the mix to guarantee damage dealt. Do make sure that the monsters are out of their invulnerability mode, which is where experience comes in to recognise their attacks and their respective behaviours in response to damage. This is inclusive, but not limited to, Colossi’s bombardment attacks, Yulong‘s ‘hide-behind-wings‘, Witch‘s teleportation, Battlesworn‘s dodge roll, Harbringer‘s flight etc. etc. Damage from any of the attack patterns (impact/ explosion) will not be applied when monsters are invulnerable/ invisible/ flying, making it a waste of IJ entirely.
Alternatively, if you’re new to the game and happen to be using IJ, do give this a comprehensive database a read.
IJ‘s damage will also be heavily reduced against high defense monsters (eg. Warmage Sentinel, Mossback, Gatekeeper with totem) or if buffed with high defense auras (eg. Gelid Voror‘s buff, Cicatrizer‘s buff).
Additionally, placement is important as the hammer will always land right in front in the direction your character is facing. This is mostly unaffected by auto-targeting and don’t expect your character to turn 180 degrees to face the nearest monster. Thus, do point the Directional Pad in the appropriate direction to ensure that your character drops the hammer in your desired location and not leave it to chance to decide where the hammer lands.
Lastly, if you’re facing monsters that are immune to stun (eg. champions) and are highly mobile (eg. corvus, ignicore etc.), ensuring that these do not move out of the area of effect is an additional essential step. To perform this, trigger a (non-belt) skill that gives you a short burst of invulnerability (eg. Flame eruption) or a defensive buff (eg. shield skills, smoke veil), bearing in mind to keep yourself rooted to the same spot and protected from most damage. This will cause the monsters to target you and if done right, they’ll get zapped by both modes.
TL;DR: Lure -> Time the skill -> Place IJ appropriately -> Linger around to keep the targets within the damage zone
IJ is naturally strong against larger and less mobile units like all Colossi, Warlords. While they are unaffected by stun, a correctly timed and placed hammer will quickly take out all, if not bulk of their HP.
Of course, when timed correctly, IJ can also be used effectively on larger teleporting ones, such as Kringle, Mezzogian. To deal with these, always wait for them to appear in their new location right after they initiate teleportation. Insufficient time for them to utilise another teleport to retreat from the explosion burst.
Although IJ is also useful for destructible items affixed to the ground (eg. Seashore‘s trident), it might be more advisable to destroy them first through other means (eg. fire cone, mal. rush, predatory instinct) to save a much needed charge of IJ on something with more HP and deadlier.
Lastly, IJ has also been well-used in armory raids due to its large explosive range. This allows you to rapidly clear most objects within each room. However, this particular use is sadly underwhelming as it reduces the skill’s application to a glorified armory clearer – a stark difference from its status of a legendary belt.
TL;DR: Strong against larger less mobile units, also an option to destroy trap-related objects
As one can see from the description, it is not too hard to imagine the challenges faced in implementing this skill and this is demonstrated in what monsters it is weak against.
IJ is weak against fast moving minions (eg. monkeys), and less predictable periods of invulnerability (eg. yulongs, cicatrizers, wolves, cardinals). This similarly applies to champions that exhibit these two behaviours (eg. Corvus, Ignicore, Wicker, Spirius, Naga, Assassin) due to their innate immunity to stun and it is necessary to keep them from moving about to be within the range of effect when the explosion mode happens. Under certain scenarios, it is optimal to still keep them stationary within the explosion radius (ie. as close to the hammer as possible).
Fortunately, if the strategy above is executed correctly, these monsters will be easily taken out either within the first or second mode. This can be particularly helpful against minions that heal quickly (eg. Spirius) as these don’t have as much HP or defence compared to other minions. Exceptions being dark-aligned minions, particularly Corvus and Harbringers.
The last, but most fatal, group of monsters would be those that cause damage reflection (eg. Ogres, Dominators). These can reportedly reflect a fixed 10% in damage received. Knowing that IJ dishes out hefty amounts of an one-time damage, fighting a group of Ogres might get you heavily injured, if not killed, should all of them receive the full blast of IJ‘s explosion. Thus, do activate IJ with utmost caution when dealing with these groups.
TL;DR: Weak against Fast moving monsters with less predictable invulnerability states. Terrible against monsters with damage reflection.
Type: Belt (Legendary)
Sub-type: Persistent Zone
Cooldown: 20 seconds (w/o bonuses)
Traits: Water Armor Bonus 16.6%; Dodge 19%; Critical Hit Chance 16%
Ice Stalagmites was the first legendary belt to appear during the Kenashi update last year (2016). Its versatility in terms of passive traits and versatility make it a well-rounded belt that is well-used in any scenario.
As a water legendary belt, it goes well with the rest of the legendary set of its same element (Ashray Mantle and Oceanbreacher). This is also great when paired with gears with high water skill cooldown or skill damage bonuses. Moreover, run speed is a nice addition to do place-and-run tactics in problematic situations.
Not much can be said about its attack pattern as its is straightforward in terms of implementation. Activating IS changes a large circular area of the ground into ice, dealing periodic damage along with a freeze ability. This lasts for about 4 seconds before fading away, with each second being a ‘tick‘ of when damage is being dealt and the freeze ability is applied. Each damage tick applies moderate damage.
TL;DR: Do I really need to explain a one step skill?
As a Persistent zone skill, one of the most dangerous sub-types around, IS is not difficult to use and is great against all elemental types (including Light).
Like IJ, to maximise the use of every IS requires many monsters to be first lured within the area of effect of the skill itself. The natural freeze ability will keep monsters entrapped within the zone, making it even harder for them to escape. Needless to say, it is good to time when monsters deal their attacks to ensure that they aren’t invulnerable throughout the duration of the skill being cast.
The only real problem would be minions with high dodge rates and are extremely mobile (eg. Corvus, Harpy, Mezzogian etc). Like the previous strategy highlighted for IJ, keeping them within the damage zone can be done by acting as a target for them not to move about too often, though this should only be done with the right set of skills AND if you have sufficient HP to sustain.
IS can also work well for guerrilla ‘place-and-run‘ tactics, such as activating it within the center of a crowd of monsters before running off to take cover. This is more applicable for larger, less mobile monsters though the faster ones are still able to get damaged if they run through or pause within the zone. It also works far better than IJ due to the lingering effects of IS.
Then again, for a damaging radius this large, is there really any need for any strategy?
Perhaps the only real practice is to gauge the area of the circular zone to maximise the number of monsters it will damage.
TL;DR: Lure -> Place -> Stay to keep minions within, or Run if low HP
Large monsters (eg. colossi, wicker, yulong etc.), large crowds or things which are affixed onto the ground (eg. Seashore Retreat‘s Trident, Ruby Temple‘s Crystal, Valenthian Guardhouse‘s turrets, Gatekeeper‘s Totem). Due to the large area of effect and relatively long duration of persistence, IS can quickly destruct trap room items and subsequently take out monsters within the vicinity as well. For example, luring monsters near Ruby Temple’s crystal and casting IS to destroy everything at once.
TL;DR: Strong against large monsters, large crowds and affixed trap-related objects
IS is poor against very specific type of minions, particularly those who don’t stay still (eg. Corvus, Harbringer etc.) or teleporting ones (eg. Witches, Mezzo etc.). These will move or have attacks that will move them out of the persistent zone quickly, making them hard to damage until you lure them back inside. Thus, it is necessary to be able to draw them back in quickly, by acting as a target within the zone itself, or have other means to deal with them.
TL;DR: Weak against highly mobile and teleporting monsters.
As a concluding summary, we will now compare both belts to identify why one of them is desired much more than the other. This will be done in terms of passive traits and usability.
Comparing the two skills, it is no doubt that IS excels in terms of passive traits.
The immediate difference would be that IS has a slightly higher dodge rate than IJ (19% vs 17%). However, to split hairs over 2% is unnecessary at best.
The evident distinction would be that Critical hit chance (from IS) is more universal as a trait compared to stun (from IJ). Critical hits are able to be applied on all forms of minion types. Stun is limited to non-champion types at the moment so this ultimately isn’t an absolute game-changer.
The two skills have different forms of damage-dealing: IJ dishes out a quick higher damage output per hit with its 2-step attack, in contrast to the lingering IS with its periodic lower damage output per hit.
As such, IS also doesn’t suffer from the same problems IJ faces, namely against monsters with damage reflection and targets running out of its danger zone too quickly. Furthermore, destroying affixed structures might seem less of a waste using IS instead of IJ, as its persistent effects ensure that monsters in the vicinity still receive damage. This is also supplemented by the huge range of IS, making it difficult for monsters to escape, especially if the skill is activated right next to them.
TL;DR: IS is superior in performance in terms of versatility in passive traits and implementation in combat
As overpowered as IS seems to be, IJ is also an excellent belt in comparison to most other skill belts available in the game. Although IJ can be considered as an above average skill, it unfortunately is not on par with IS in terms of versatility, making it less sought after.
To be honest, I’ve rarely deviated from the use of either IJ or IS ever since I procured them. IJ, being the second legendary item I managed to pull, holds a special place in my inventory as an early Christmas present, and it was the skill which I trained with most. While it is tricky to use, I found that this challenge is set at just the right amount for combat to be made fun and rewarding, as I had to practice constantly to initiate a well-timed, well-placed hit.
In contrast, the thing which I want to stress is that IS literally kills all strategy, making once the hardest of challenges amazingly simple (similar to now commonly procured fire cone but more impactful). Although some might argue that IS is required for certain tougher strongholds raids (eg. the current Ruby Temple), I personally feel that this game-changer is more like a balance-wrecker. This results in players desperately seeking out for it and getting frustrated while doing so.
However, while an attempt has been done to balance the mechanics of IS, I think that further nerfing should only be applied to this skill while modifying the other game parameters as well (eg. making more monsters smarter to keep out of range when IS is detected, or having special defences to resist/cap the received damage). By gradually introducing more challenge to the use of IS, this would facilitate a smoother transition from OP skill to above-average skill, akin to the challenges faced while using IJ. Only then, perhaps would players not place too much emphasis on a single gear configuration, but rather attempt to experiment other skills as well – much as how DH5 was intended to be from the start.
TL;DR: Balancing still needs to be done for IS, but is to be paired with other tweaks (eg. minion behaviour) in mind
Phew, that was long.
For those who have these skills, hope this has been informative for you in terms of how these skills can be utilised. Otherwise, for those who have yet to get these, don’t fret as you’ll get them sooner or later! 🙂